The Gosford City Dragons secured back to back premierships when they defeated the Southern and Ettalong Lionesses 2-nil in the 2019 Central Coast Unity Bank Women’s League grand final on September 8.
As this year’s competitions final two, the Lionesses and the Dragons faced off, with both hoping to be crowned premiers of the competition for the 2019 season.
A 3-2 victory to the Gosford City girls a mere four weeks ago helped set the scene for Saturday nights clash as a boisterous crowd packed into Central Coast Stadium to watch the competition’s two most in-form sides face-off, with the opening half proving as tight as most expected.
In a half that saw both sides create chances, neither were able to find the back of the net, with the Lionesses probably enjoying the better of the first half opportunities.
The sides returned from the half-time break full of energy, with many in the crowd anticipating goals in the second period given the attacking quality on show in both line-ups, and after just 10 minutes, the Dragons looked to have taken the lead after their top-scorer, Brittni Nicol, was played through on goal before taking a touch and finishing confidently past, Bec Arnfield, in the Ettalong goal, only for the effort to be ruled out for a close offside call.
Nicol, however, wasn’t made to wait long for her 18th goal of the season, as she opened the scoring in similar circumstances to her earlier strike, giving the Dragons a 1-nil lead around the hour mark.
With the side struggling with injuries in the lead up to Saturday’s decider, the Lionesses were dealt another blow after 2019 Golden Boot winner, Tahlor Thackray, appeared to be struck down with cramp in the second half as her side desperately chased an equaliser.
Ettalong’s task was made all the more difficult mid-way through the second period as Gosford City doubled their lead, with Jessica Dominello firing past Arnfield to send the Dragons portion of the crowd into raptures as their side edged closer to back-to-back titles.
Despite their best efforts to salvage a result, it became clear that luck just wasn’t on the Lionesses side as they hit the woodwork on a number of occasions throughout the match emphasising the fine margins that often decide these big games.
Ultimately, Gosford City prevailed 2-0 winners on the night with celebrations sure to have continued into the early hours of Sunday morning after securing back-to-back titles, a remarkable effort given the player turnover from the 2018 decider.
Website, Sep 11
Lachlan Herd, Central Coast Football